This past weekend at Eastbrook, we began a new preaching series entitled “Living the Creed: Connecting Life and Faith in the Apostles’ Creed.” This series walks through the Apostles Creed as a basic summary of our faith but also as a way to live our faith out with God in the world. Each weekend of this series will explore the biblical and theological roots of the Apostles Creed, while also providing specific spiritual practices and approaches to living out what we know as we ‘proclaim and embody’ the Creed in our daily lives.
This weekend I preached on the first article of the creed: “I Believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth.”
You can find the message video and outline below. You can also view the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.
“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…” (Matthew 6:9)
Introducing this series
Why a series on the Apostles’ Creed?
What is the Apostles’ Creed?
“I Believe in”: Belief and Faith as:
An expression of trust: The creed is a cry of dependent trust in the Triune God.
A description of truth: The creed is a doctrinal summary of our shared faith.
A story to live: The creed is a family story that we prayerfully live within.
God the Father
The relationship within the Triune Godhead (Matthew 28:19)
The relationship between God and His people (Isaiah 63:16; Matthew 6:9)
God the Almighty
The universal power of God (Ephesians 4:6)
The personal power of God (Ephesians 1:19-20)
God the Creator of Heaven and Earth
The creative work of God in the seen (Genesis 1-2)
The creative work of God in the unseen (Jeremiah 51:15; Acts 14:15)
Living this part of the Apostles’ Creed
Living by believing
Knowing God as Father
Letting go because God is Almighty
Praising and thanking God through His Creation
This week dig deeper in one or more of the following ways:
Memorize Deuteronomy 6:4-5 or Ephesians 4:4-6
Read and/or pray through the entire Apostles’ Creed. Consider memorizing it.
For further background on The Apostles’ Creed, consider reading:
“The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.” (Psalm 97:1-2)
In the distance, across Flathead Lake, mountains tower, touching the heights, shrouded in heavy cloud, hiding the distant peaks from view.
You, God, are my God, surrounded in clouds and thick darkness— known, yet not fully knowable; hidden, yet still perceptible; available, yet mysterious.
Open my eyes to see You today. Open my ears to hear You today. Open my mind to know You today. Open my heart to receive You today.
Enlarge my soul in the vastness of Your presence and relieve me from striving that I might truly rest in You. You, God, are my God, surrounding me in the cloud of Your presence, lighting up my darkness in the brilliance of You.
Over the past month I have been reading Henri Nouwen’s book The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom. This is one of Nouwen’s most personal books, taken from his journals during a time of great challenge and even depression in his life. I really appreciated the entire book, which struck a chord for me in what has been an extended challenging season for me as a pastor navigating through the pandemic, racial and political tensions, and various other things. The last entry in the book is titled “Keep Choosing God.” It was a wonderful conclusion to the book that I found very meaningful. I share it here in its entirety in hopes that it will be encouraging to you as well.
You are constantly facing choices. The question is whether you choose for God or for your own doubting self. You know what the right choice is but your emotions, passions, and feelings keep suggesting you choose the self-rejecting way.
The root choice is to trust at all times that God is with you and will give you what you most need. Your self-rejecting emotions might say, ‘It isn’t going to work. I’m still suffering the same anguish I did six months ago. I will probably fall back into the old depressive patterns of acting and reacting. I haven’t really changed.’ And on and on. It is hard not to listen to these voices. Still, you know that these are not God’s voice. God says to you, ‘I love you, I am with you, I want to see you come closer to me and experience the joy and peace of my presence. I want to give you a new heart and a new spirit. I want you to speak with my mouth, see with my eyes, here with my ears, touch with my hands. All that is mine is yours. Just trust me and let me be your God.’
This is the voice to listen to. And that listening requires a real choice, not just once in a while but every moment of each day and night. It is you who decides what you think, say, and do. You can think yourself into a depression, you can talk yourself into low self-esteem, you can act in a self-rejecting way. But you always have a choice to think, speak, and act in the name of God and so move toward the Light, the Truth, and the Life.
As you conclude this period of spiritual renewal, you are faced once again with a choice. You can choose to remember this time as a failed attempt to be completely reborn, or you can also choose to remember it as the precious time when God began new things in you that need to be brought to completion. Your future depends on how you decide to remember your past. Choose for the truth of what you know. Do not let your still anxious emotions distract you. As you keep choosing God, your emotions will gradually give up the rebellion and be converted to the truth in you.
You are facing a real spiritual battle. But do not be afraid. You are not alone. Those who have guided you during this period are not leaving you. Their prayers and support will be with you wherever you go. Keep them close to your heart so that they can guide you as you make your choices.
Remember, you are held safe. You are loved. You are protected. You are in communion with God and with those whom God has sent you. What is of God will last. It belongs to the eternal life. Choose it, and it will be yours.
“Many, Lord, are asking, ‘Who will bring us prosperity?’ Let the light of your face shine on us. Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:6-8, NIV)
“At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep, For you, God, have put my life back together.” (Psalm 4:8, MSG)
O LORD, when troubles gather round me (and they never fail to come), You are the One I turn to for help for Your help is always the best available.
When waves whip up around my life, which seems like a boat helplessly tossed at sea in a storm, You are the One who speaks peace and brings calm no matter the circumstances.
You are the source of all my joys in the best and brightest times, and You are the bringer of true comfort in the dire and dark days.
I love knowing You and walking with You. In every day and every year, keep me close that I might walk on Your road all my life.